Building a Better World

Our intention is to bring fulfillment and positive change to everyone who comes in contact with The Shakti Mat, from crafts-person to customer and beyond. Keep reading to learn more about what it means to support Shakti.











The home of The Shakti Mat and the heart of our production lies in the holy city of Varanasi. In the rural outskirts of the city Shakti Mats are handmade by 72 women in an all-female purpose-built workshop. The word ‘Shakti’ in Sanskrit is a feminine principle, and symbolises empowerment, abundance and change. It is with these principles that we run the workshop.
We aspire to provide space where welfare and community take priority over production and where our employees are empowered and treated as equals regardless of caste. All of the women are paid a living wage, work relaxed hours, are provided daily meals and puja, free medical care, an emergency medical fund for them and their families, and paid sick leave and holiday leave.
We have begun funding private schooling for 8 daughters of our employees and intend to continue to increase this number. The space is growing with renovations and soon we hope to have space for 200 women here. Scroll to the bottom to see inside our Varanasi production.

In times when the production of Varanasi cannot keep up with demand for Shakti Mats, we also produce with a family business in Delhi, India. We have a long-standing and personal relationship with the crafts-people here and we are diligently working to extend the same values of meaningful employment we pride ourselves on in Varanasi. So far, we have worked with their management to apply for comprehensive medical insurance for employees and their families with an emergency medical fund in place in the mean-time. The management pay above living wage, overtime pay, and end of year bonuses. Team Shakti have reserved $25,000 to invest in further support for the employees, and in 2020, we will visit Delhi to create interviews, photos, and share the Delhi story with our community.

As our business has grown, we acknowledge the value of independent audits and at November 2019 we are currently working with SMETA certifiers for our entire supply chain to get official certification for socially responsible manufacture. We will continue to strive towards doing the best by everyone who comes in contact with the Shakti Mat.

“I’m so happy that I am making something that benefits others. I like the fact that what I make is being used all over the world, I feel very proud of this. My mother first came here and figured out the place and she was so happy that she sent me here. She likes the fact that I am working in a place where its only women. I have such nice friends here and I can open my heart and talk about anything with them."
- Nivedita (22)

"It’s a woman-only place here and we work like a family. I can’t think of working somewhere else. It's an amazing place to work and I’m fortunate to be here. I like that the customers buy the mats I make. I’m always worried that the spikes hurt people when they lie on it, but what I make here is for a good purpose, it's good for the body."

- Shakuntala (22)

"I feeI like I’m part of a family, all these women are like my sisters. We are all from different castes and religions but all of us are treated equally, there is no discrimination between us. I feel as if I belong here, people are affectionate as well as helpful and then there is the amazing work we do. I feel very dedicated to this place, it feels like my real home.”

- Geeta (32)

"Its really like a family here, we share each other’s thoughts and there are no differences, everyone is equal. Since I came here my confidence has enhanced for sure. I’m independent now and everyone is proud of me. I would like to write to all the respected customers to tell them how we are working here and to thank them. Because of them my life has changed for good"

- Suman (22)

Want to read the full Varanasi interviews?
Click here to download the PDF











10% of our company’s profits are donated directly to charity. We support a mix of charities that are focused between effective altruism (chosen through GiveWell’s assessments) and local community support. As of December 2019, we have achieved:
75,807 children dewormed, predominantly in India, to support nutrition, energy and health through 'Deworm the World'
4,985 trees saved in endangered forests, through 'Cool Earth'
3,282 long-lasting treated mosquito nets provided to reduce the impact of malaria in developing countries through 'Against Malaria'
9,848 Vitamin A drops distributed for supplementation, to reduce malnutrition and blindness through Helen Keller International
5,000 trees planted in Kenya
2,200 trees planted in the Himalayas

8 scholarships to send the daughters of Shakti's craftswomen to a high quality private school.

140 children from Varanasi’s slums funded to extend their education program (until the age of 14) at the charity school 'Learn for Life'.
100 children supported through hiring an additional space to begin an early childhood centre through the charity school 'Seed for Change'.

Thank you for choosing Shakti and for helping us to create meaningful and positive change.